CINCO DE MAYO SALSA

Cinco De Mayo is upon us! Don’t let this weekend pass without making this easy and delicious salsa!

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SERVES 2 HUNGRY PEOPLE

(or 4 People that are mildly afraid of Salsa.)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup lime juice

  • 4 roma tomatoes

  • 1/2 red onion

  • 1 bell pepper

  • 1/4-1/2 jalapeno

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

  • 1/8 tsp salt and pepper

  • 1/2 tsp cumin

  • 2 tsp maple syrup

  • Cilantro as desired

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Slice the onion and pepper first into dice sized pieces. Next, combine them in fresh-squeezed lime juice. This will help to “cook” the onions slightly and minimize any digestive issues. Follow steps with the jalapeno.

  2. Next, combine the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Taste, and adjust any seasonings to your flavor profile. Serve with warm tortilla chips!

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These plates & bowls are great for summer because they look like real marble however are made of plastic to reuse while giving you an elegant appearance and sturdy construction. Here’s the links to them <3!

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Interested in how locals celebrate Cinco De Mayo in Mexico?

The secret is: They don’t. However check out how we hung out in last year’s trip to Mexico City & Hidalgo, Mexico.



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TRY MORE GREAT CINCO DE MAYO RECIPES:

Mangorita Mojito

Cinco De Mayo Favorites

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Be Well,

Chef Dee <3

EASTER EGG SALAD WITH TARRAGON

Maybe you’re wondering what to do with your leftover Easter eggs? If so, we’ve got you covered!

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Easter Sunday is only a few short days away with so many painted Easter eggs finding a new home, in the trash! To avoid this, let’s use those eggs for a delicious egg salad! I was so excited to see that tarragon was in my CSA (community supported agriculture) box this week. Tarragon is a unique and uncommon herb that many people have yet to try!

Be sure to read my storage tips on how to properly store these to practice #foodsafety and proper food handling below!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 hard boiled eggs

  • ½ english cucumber

  • ¼-½ red onion chopped

  • Lemon juice

  • Zest of one lemon

  • ⅛-¼ cup lemon mayo

  • 1/4 tsp Tarragon or 2-3 sprigs

  • ⅛ tsp black pepper

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 1-2 tbsp Dijon Mustard

  • 2 large scallions


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Before you begin to paint your eggs, ensure that the paint you choose to use is non-toxic and from natural sources. I enjoy using juiced veggies such as beets and carrots for this!

  2. Begin by boiling your water and add the eggs once the water has come to a boil with a slotted spoon. Be sure to gently place the eggs into the hot liquid as a cold egg can often crack when the two temperatures collide. Hold it in the water prior to placing it at the base of the pot. Set timer for twelve minutes and let sit for 1-3 more minutes. Rinse under cold water or place eggs into an ice bath.

  3. When you are finished with painting and the kids have no desire to hold onto the eggs anymore, you’ll use these for your Easter Egg Salad. Be sure to rinse them as best as you can and slowly crack and peel the egg under cold running water.

  4. Place the peeled Easter eggs into a bowl and reserve in the fridge until you’re ready for them.

  5. Using your chef’s knife, dice your onion into small pieces as well as your cucumber. Next, remove the leaves from your tarragon plant and chop them into your desired size. Reserve in a bowl.

  6. Using a microplane, zest some of your lemon skin prior to cutting in half. Next, squeeze 1/2 of the lemon juice into a bowl over the onions and let the mixture sit for a few minutes. This helps to “cook” the onions a bit to help with any adverse effects of eating a raw onion!

  7. Next, chop your scallions and place into your bowl, along with all of the remaining ingredients except the eggs.

  8. Finally, chop your eggs into pieces and place into the bowl. You can chop them as big or as small as you would like. Next, combine the mixture and reserve back in the fridge for up to one week from the date the eggs were boiled.

  9. Serve with mixed greens, or simply eat on it’s own or topped with gorgeous microgreens, smoked paprika, or additional tarragon!

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**You’ll want to label this when putting into your fridge if you do not eat it all at once. It’s important not to eat eggs beyond about a week’s time. This means the time the eggs were boiled, therefore whatever day you made your eggs to paint with the kiddos is the date you will put onto the container!

I certainly hope you enjoy this recipe and have a wonderful Easter Sunday. Please tag me on instagram if you end up making this!

Be well,

Chef Dee


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THE PERFECT PLANT-BASED PAD THAI

With wholesomeness,

Chef Dee

{CAN BE KETO-FRIENDLY & VEGAN}

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All hail Plant-Thai, or Pad-Thai - whatever you're feeling! This recipe was originally created for a close friend and his wife for their wedding day. I met my friend Marshal through my very first corporate wellness class where we later became great friends. Creating this recipe for them made me realize how many people have come into my life as a result of being in the culinary arts. Food has always been nurturing in my eyes, but the people that have come into my life through this path I have chosen, have nurtured me in more ways than I can express. I feel so lucky for all of the friends that have as a result of doing what I love most.  

Sob-story over - onto the Pad Thai!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp coconut oil

  • 1 medium onion

  • 1/4 cup red cabbage

  • 1/4 cup peanuts (crushed & roasted)

  • 2 tsp red curry paste

  • 1/2 inch fresh grated ginger

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter or 1/4 cup almond butter

  • 1 can full fat canned coconut milk

  • 1 1/4 cup veggie stock

  • 1/4 tsp fresh turmeric

  • 1/4 tsp garlic granules

  • 1 large carrot peeled into "sliced noodles"

  • 1/4 cup fresh pineapple or favorite non-refined sweetener

  • 2 cups bean sprouts (optional)

  • 1/4 cup chives (optional)

  • 1/2-1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

DIRECTIONS:

**When reading a recipe and learning to really feel comfortable cooking I suggest reading the entire recipe & directions prior to starting. This helps you to better understand what truly goes into the dish.**

  1. Gather your ingredients and wash all of your veggies.

  2. Add the coconut oil to the pan once the pan is has heated. (be sure to use a pan that is large enough to hold all of your ingredients. Remember you may want to add more cabbage or carrots to this dish.)

  3. While the oil heats, cut your onion into small diced pieces.

  4. Once the coconut oil has heated slightly, add your onions and sauté until they become translucent.

  5. Using your mandolin, adjust the width of the slicer (on the back) to use to slice your cabbage & carrots along the blade. I like to hold the mandolin by the top however without using the handle.) You can stabilize it so that you avoid cutting yourself. Run products along it VERY slowly until you become more comfortable.

  6. While the onion cooks, continue working on the cabbage, carrots, slicing the carrots lengthwise into “noodle-like” strips. These should be pliable like noodles. You should not be able to snap them.

  7. Next, add in the curry paste, ginger, turmeric, peanut butter, and coconut milk. Stir the mixture on low while following with the cabbage, pineapple, and other ingredients. Add in garlic granules as well if desired, or fresh garlic.

  8. Finally let the mixture simmer for 10-20 minutes to help bring out the flavor. Add in a touch of lime if needed to brighten the dish and it’s flavors.

  9. Prior to serving, taste the dish and add in additional turmeric, ginger, salt, & sweetness. Top with toasted sesame oil, chives, & peanuts! Enjoy!

 

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If concerned about sugar content with this meal, opt for more cabbage over carrots. Carrots are not seen as a high-sugar food however cabbage and the addition of a lean protein such as chicken would be fantastic in a recipe like this. Be sure to customize it to your needs! 

 
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ROSH HASHANAH APPLE GRAPE CRUMBLE

With Rosh Hashanah just around the corner, the traditional use of apples is always on the menu.  While I do not celebrate Rosh Hashanah I will be preparing a lovely meal for a large group this coming Monday. This recipe is an excellent way to use apples especially when feeding a crowd! I added grapes to this traditional recipe while also adding macadamia nuts to the crumble for additional flavor & healthy fats.

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APPLE MIXTURE:

  • 3-3 1/2 cups pink crisp apples (about two large apples)

  • 1 1/2 cups grapes

  • 2 tbsp ghee or 2 tbsp coconut oil if vegan

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or paste of 1 vanilla bean

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/8 tsp allspice

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 cup water

CRUMBLE MIXTURE:

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1 1/2 cups oats or 1 cup oats 1/ 1/2 cup macadamia nuts (pulsed)

  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened)

  • 1/4 cup rice flour

  • 1/8 tsp sal

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Set your oven to 350.

  2. Add ghee to your pan. Add the apples & grapes once the ghee has gotten hot & shimmy the pan until well combined. Cover for about 5 minutes while shaking every so often to prevent the apples & grapes from sticking.

  3. During this time make your crumble. If you decide to use macadamia nuts you will need to pulse them in a food processor. 

  4. After the timer has gone off add your vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, salt, water & optional maple syrup (taste test prior) and cover for another 5 minutes by setting a timer.

  5. Once the apples & grapes have cooked down with the spices, remove & turn off the stovetop. 

  6. Add your apple grape mixture to a baking dish and add your crumble to the top of it. Add to the oven and cook for 40 minutes or until the crumble has become golden brown.

**Tips: When shopping for the grapes, larger ones will typically be sweeter while smaller ones will provide a more tart taste. I prefer to have smaller grapes as they provide a nice balance with the sweetness of the apples!**

Serve with your favorite vanilla ice/nice cream! Enjoy!

Thank you to our friends at @hungryharvest for the delicious rescued apples & grapes that went into this dish for Rosh Hashanah!  Use my code "cookcollab" for $5.00 off your first delivery!
 

MANGORITA-MOJITO SMOOTHIE

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Bunch Mint
  • 1/2 cup Frozen Avocado 
  • 2 cups OJ
  • 1/4 cup natural/fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup Grapefruit Juice
  • 1 cup Frozen Mango

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine all ingredients into a blender and pulse until entirely combined. Make sure that you have enough liquid to blend the mixture.
  2. Serve, garnish with fresh mint & enjoy! Remember, sugar is still sugar so drink in moderation as a special treat. Top with lemon or lime kombucha for a "boozy" probiotic addition!

**Keep in mind that sweetness can be adjusted with OJ or mango. Everyone will require a bit more of each ingredient versus another. I prefer my Mangorita-Mojito to be more tart while others may want it sweeter!**

A NOTE ON THE AVOCADOS USED:

Make sure you use an avocado that is not entirely ripe. This will give the smoothie a bitterness if it is too ripe. I used frozen avocado which is picked and instantly quick frozen at it's prime maturation. 

If you cannot find frozen avocado, simply use an avocado that is perfectly light to medium green inside!

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Made with delicious mango from our friends at @hungryharvest! Use my code "cookcollab" for $5.00 off your first order!

MIDDLE EASTERN SPICED CARROTS

+ GARLIC TAHINI CHIMMICHURRI

We LOVE roasted veggies! However, I've never been one for roasted carrots. I'm more of a roasted sweet potato kind of girl due to the sweetness that the potato provides. Carrots at times, can become bitter with cooking which means it is necessary to balance these flavors when roasting. Typically, bitterness is balanced with sweetness.


For this recipe, I used carrots that were previously peeled & cut by the team over at Hungry Harvest which ended up being absolutely delicious, nutritious, & in the process, fought food waste! Don't forget to use the code "cookcollab" to receive $5.00 off your first order with Hungry Harvest & give yourself a pat on the back for helping to influence the way our industry progresses.

 

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ROASTED CARROTS / or sweet potatoes

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb cut carrots
  • 1/2 tsp za'atar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • dash of cardamom (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Set the oven to 415.
  2. On a sheet pan combine all of the ingredients & toss fully by using your hands to mix in the ingredients.
  3. Roast the carrots in the oven at 415 degrees for 25 minutes.
  4. While the carrots are cooking, prepare your garlic tahini chimmichurri vinaigrette or yogurt sauce.

**Sweet potatoes can be used as well.**

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GARLIC TAHINI CHIMMICHURRI VINAIGRETTE

(or yogurt sauce)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp roasted garlic (see recipe below)
  • 1 large bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 bunch cur leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup sherry vin
  • 1 heaping tbsp tahini
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup olive oil OR 1 cup greek yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Using a food processor, combine all of your ingredients except your oil if choosing to make a vinaigrette. Pulse until well combined and reserve in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
  2. If making the yogurt sauce remove the sherry vin prior to combining and substitute with salt or lemon if desired.
  3. Top the roasted carrots with the sauce & enjoy. They both taste great on a salad.

EASY-TO-MAKE ROASTED GARLIC

 
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Garlic is one of the most powerful ingredients for antifungal, anti-inflammatory, & a protector against common colds to list just a few. Most of us have a grandmother who boasts about the benefits of specific ingredients, but to be quite frank, garlic most certainly is, a beneficial food.

It's one of my favorite flavor enhancers to add to dishes, yet I find that most clients & friends don't seem to know the trick on bumping up the flavor with this beneficial ingredient that's SO easy to create, reserve, & continue to enjoy for weeks to come. 

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At the start of the week or on Sundays I like to roast a pound (yes an entire pound) with a quality extra virgin olive oil to use for the remainder of the week. I use the roasted garlic in weekly recipes, dressings, dips, & sauces which really packs the flavor into these dishes.

To create roasted garlic simply follow the recipe below.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of peeled garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Add the peeled garlic to a pan that allows you to cover it. I like to use a small metal baking dish that was given to me by my mom that has a metal lid as it's the perfect size to allow the garlic pieces to roast tightly packed with one another. You can also use a glass baking dish with a lid to roast the garlic.
  2. Once you have added the garlic, check to make sure there are no impurities such as any garlic that contains mold, or any that still has the husk on it. Remove any impurities and add 1/2 extra virgin olive oil to the mixture and stir until well combined.
  3. Cook the garlic at 350 for 45 minutes and remove from the oven to stir. Add back to the oven and cook (still covered) for another 35-45 minutes depending on the temperature integrity of your oven. 
  4. Let the garlic cool and reserve in the fridge. You can either leave the garlic whole or puree the garlic in a food processor. I prefer to leave the garlic whole and make sure it is tightly packed with enough olive oil to cover it to ensure a longer shelf life in the fridge.
  5. Keep the finished product in your fridge for up to 1 month or until you get through it! I assure you it will not stay for any longer! To ensure that your garlic is safe to eat, check for any mold growth before using. This is what will occur almost always if it becomes unsafe to eat. Olive oil will help to preserve it so make sure the garlic is tightly packed in the jar with olive oil covering the top.

Enjoy & head over to Hungry Harvest with my code "cookcollab" to order your first box!

If you want to try this recipe, use the share link below to share it with your friends and family!

To health and happiness,

Chef Dee

A SIMPLY STYLED & DELICIOUS CINCO DE MAYO

HOW TO FEED A CINCO DE MAYO (MESCAL-INFUSED) CROWD

Hey All, Happy Cinco De Mayo! While the large majority of Americans probably don't know what this date truly means to Mexico, the number 1862 is the year to remember which was the day Mexico gained victory over the French in Puebla, Mexico. It's rare for celebrations to occur outside of Puebla, however it's likely I'll be handed Mezcal immediately upon waking by my cousin while visiting him in Mexico. In his defense, he's Mexican American so he's learned a thing or two about these binge-worthy celebrations in the US. As I sit here writing this post I have to hand it to him - I was given a peach from his garden instead of Mezcal this time around. I'd say we're making improvements, however Mezcal was our choice for the evening's dance festivities - cumbia & salsa.

To celebrate my cravings for Mexican culture & adventure, I'm visiting my cousin in #CDMX to roam the streets of Coyoacan and climb through the mountains of Mezquital.

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While the majority of my Mexican celebrations have been centered around drinking, we aren't going to start off that way with this nutrient-dense blog post, however we'll get down and dirty with an optional smokey mezcal drink & some boochy mocktail recipes later in the post.

Some of my fondest memories when I was little was being able to spend time with my Aunt, eating (and observing) how she made delicious & authentic Mexican food which she also passed on to my mom. My cousins were born in Mexico with my aunt learning to cook a great deal of the cuisine. I've always had a soft spot for Mexican cuisine and that's why we're celebrating the most Americanized version of someone else's history, aka a reason for American's to get sh*tfaced on tequila and poorly made tacos. Now to the yum-yums:

 

SALÚD YA'LL

Let's talk Agave & Mezcal |Cocoa & Cocaine

They're all from plants. They're all FROM a natural source. They're all pretty shitty for you, but that's life. I'm not saying go ham on any of them (which we may have done last night) but agave IS an ingredient that's likely in your day to day. The use of honey, maple syrup, dates, coconut sugar, or bananas are probably ingredients that grace your presence more often than mezcal or cocaine. It's likely you're not pouring mezcal or cocaine in your morning coffee or to your acai bowl. Let's be real, neither one of them are good for you, but it's likely we dont utilize them nearly as much as something like agave. 

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Yes. You're correct, I have a pure hatred for agave as it provides little nutritional benefits for your body as it is something that is SO concentrated, reduced, and minimally beneficial compared to other go-to sweeteners. However, the same equally-as-bad-for-you, Mezcal (it's often drunk, older brother) goes through a different process to achieve it's smokey, tequilla-esc flavor. I'm not saying it's good for you by any means, but if you're going to break your I'm eating healthy diet for Cinco De Mayo, it better be with Mezcal like a true Mexican. (Hence my mezcal infused dancing last night)

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You see, both mezcal & agave nectar can come from the same plant, the Agave plant depending on the type of Mezcal you are having. The "Pina" portion of the plant is harvested for both of them. The benefits of this plant are pretty BA when utilized in it's raw from, however when heated and greatly fermented or concentrated, those nutritional benefits go out the door, just like when cocaine is made from the cocoa plant (the same source as the antioxidant-rich CHOCOLATE!) In a nutshell, my point of this Agave-bash is that I want you to understand the process your food goes through to get to the point of consumption. We don't see syrup dripping from the sky, but we do see dates fall from a palm, bananas grow tucked behind palm leaves, and maple syrup pour from maple trees during it's harvest. When something is in it's raw form, especially sugars they provide us with more benefits nutritionally, but when in Roam, Dalé because you know, YOLO.

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MANGORITA:

  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened grapefruit juice
  • 1 cup ice
  • 3 oz honey or maple syrup 
  • 1/2 bottle of Kevita Kombucha - Lime Flavor
  • Food-grade Lavender Droplets (optional)
  • Mezcal (Optional)

Method of Prep:

  1. Combine all ingredients except basil in a blender with ice cubes. Blend until well combined and pour into glasses. 
  2. Garnish with fresh basil and lime wedges.

***If you would like to add decoration on the rim, dip rim in honey and dip again in lime zests or shredded coconut.

 

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AVOJITO:

  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 2-4 sprigs organic mint
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup coconut water or filtered water
  • 1 tsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1-2 shots mezcal  (if you must)

 

WATERMELON HIBISCUS AQUA FRESCA:

  • 5 cups watermelon
  • 2 cups hibiscus tea (I prefer steeping the petals instead of buying packaged tea bags)
  • 1 bottle lime, lemon or roselle kombucha
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 3-4 drops LIQUID Stevia
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds (optional - however this is a common ingredient in drinks in Mexico City.)

 

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SALSA VERDE:

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 4 green tomatillos
  • 1 half white onion (cooked)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • pinch pepper
  • 1 tbsp blackened poblano pepper (optional / seeds & skin removed)
  1. Wash all of your ingredients.
  2. Dice your tomatillos & onions and cook onions and tomatillos until translucent.
  3. Add water if necessary and pulse immediately with other ingredients until well combined. Sugar may be necessary to offset kick. I like using maple syrup if needed.

 

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POBLANO LIME CREMA

  • 2 blackened/roasted Poblano Peppers (skin & seeds removed)
  • 2 bunches cilantro
  • 1-1 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 3 green onions 
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup water
  1. Wash all ingredients.
  2. Heat the oven to 400 and roast the Poblano pepper until blackened. Let cool and remove the skin & seeds. Reserve in the blender and blend until smooth. Adjust ingredients if you need more of one specific flavor.
  3. Combine sauce with ceviche ingredients and top with fresh cilantro or sprouts.

 

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CROCKPOT ONIONS & PEPPERS

  • 2 large yellow or red onions
  • 4-6 bell peppers (any color)
  • 1/2 cup veggie or beef broth
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Start off by adding 2 large onions (red or white) to a bowl, along with 4-6 washed bell peppers of any color. Slice all of the ingredients while removing the seeds of the peppers and add to your crock pot. Season and combine with your liquid and let cook until softened. I like to put this on in the morning on low to be eaten by dinner time. This is a great topping to your tacos. Pairs well with Poblano Lime Crema.

^ SHOP OUR FAVORITE PRODUCTS ^


STEWED BLACK BEANS

• 1 can black beans
• 1 can kidney beans
• 1 medium/large onion
• 1 tbsp avocado oil
• 1 tsp worcestershire sauce • 1/4-1 tsp cumin
• 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
• Salt & Pepper as needed 

  1. Add the avocado oil to your pan and let heat.
  2. Dice your onion and add to the pan until onions are cooked thoroughly (approx 15-20 minutes.) Add in the FULL can of both beans and let cook with the cumin & smoked paprika as well as worcestershire sauce. Cook until beans become incorporated and not as (sauce- like.)
  3. Push down on the beans with a spatula and mash the beans to create somewhat of a paste.
  4. Remove and let cool.

 

PINEAPPLE OR MANGO PICO DE GALLO

  • 1/2 pineapple
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 english cucumber (seeds removed)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 Jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup scallions
  • 2 tomatoes (seeds removed)
  • Juice of 1-3 limes
  1. Dice all of the ingredients except the limes into small dice-sized pieces after washing and add to a bowl to combine.

  2. Add the lime juice and mix. Reserve & use for tacos or for a dip!

ENJOY!

A LETTER TO A YOUNG CHEF

Dear Young (or new) Chef,

Welcome to this AMAZING career. I remember during culinary school, instructors prepared us for what we would soon encounter in the torturous world of the culinary arts. They prepped us for how we would endure; to be cut down more times then we would cut ourselves. We’d feel the flames and wrath of our superiors more times then we would feel the burns on our skin, or quite possibly we’d be special enough to get both. We’d be torn down as we struggled to stand up or stand out, while being pushed and pulled before we became anything but mediocre in this industry. This is what young chef’s believe is what we will have to endure in this world, however most seem to be too content with it and are willing to take on this arduous mental and physical beating. Certainly, not one of our chefs truly wanted any of the previously mentioned things to actually occur, but it certainly set the tone for us to keep pushing out our very best work.

 Marco Pierre White stated “Lots of famous chefs today don’t look whacked, because they don’t work. They have a healthy glow and a clear complexion. There is blood in their cheeks. They haven’t got burns on their wrists and cuts on their hands.” 

Marco Pierre White, The Devil in the Kitchen: Sex, Pain, Madness and the Making of a Great Chef

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One thing I cant seem to fathom is the idea behind this life we’ve chosen to make our world. We’ve created a stereotype over the years that every kitchen is exactly like this statement. Regardless of our position, if your true passion in this world is to cook, you will work hard and you will endure the pain - but it will all be worth it if it's the right fit. The only falsity of White’s statement along with many of my instructors is that every talented kitchen prides themselves off of the pot-slinging values that chefs like Gordon Ramsey hold. I’m not saying it will all be tea and crumpets or that all of my past instructors hope we will one day experience this torture, but after-all I’m not a fan of tea or crumpets to be quite frank. The tea and crumpets will come, but what I’m trying to say is you have the power to make them however the heck you want.

 

You read books that talk about the absurdities that take place in a commercial kitchen or cooks doing lines of coke in the alley of the restaurant. That much may be true in this industry and maybe that’s what your in to, but not every restaurant is like this, nor will we all choose to be a part of this type of kitchen. I’m not saying you won't get something thrown at you in your career, but it might be a french fry, and not a pan. You create your path, and you write the rules. You might not write them initially, but you have the power to edit them along the way. 

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I was asked in my very first kitchen position why I cook. I was told I don't look like a cook, I’m skinny and healthy and just don't seem to fit the mold. As I stood there grilling on the hotline staring back at my co-worker I didn't take this as an insult one-so-ever. I took it as a compliment. I’m flattered that I was pegged as a 19 year old more-so than a 25 year old. This question on why do I cook really struck me. Surprisingly, this isn't a question you get all that often. I cook because I absolutely love it, but even more-so than that, I cook because I want to help people while helping myself along the way. I’m still discovering what I need nutritionally, while learning how to create food that suits my health needs as well as my palate. I say I cook because I love it, but I cook because this is the first thing that has truly changed my world in the 25 years that I’ve been trying to figure it out. I’ve struggled more times than I’ve succeeded and I’m sure this isn't the end of my struggles but for the time-being, I’m happy and I’m content in what I’ve created. With five years of digestive & health issues still un-resolved I fully believe food is how to fix it. As I step closer and closer to healing I know that I am destined to cater to others who are facing similar battles.

I’ll probably never have my name plastered on a Michellin star restaurant or even have the title of“Executive Chef” because I choose that. My goal was never to have this title or recognition, but my choice to go back to school to study culinary arts, wasn't to become anything more than skilled at what I am doing, to better educate myself and others on how to live a healthier & happier life. I may have stitches and scars on my hands and burns on my wrists but I’ll keep my healthy glow and clear complexion if it means I’m feeding my body right. This life doesn't have to be what it is made out to be. YOU choose your path, and YOU create where it leads you. Choose your career stepping stones wisely, it will only build you into exactly who you want to be.

 

This article was written 4 years ago as a NEW chef with a vision for her health & career.


FOR MORE INFO ON BECOMING A CHEF:

Check out this wonderful video interview from Goadilo, a unique career site that uses video and social media to expose and educate young people and mid-career workers to high growth trades, professions and unique careers.
 


Love & Wholesomeness,
Chef Dee